By Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub
ST. LOUIS – Let me specify, and clarify, that I am merely role playing here. But if I am Boston and you are St. Louis, the relationship is pretty clear.
You are my bitch.
Before the St. Louisans work themselves into a lather, let me clarify something: this Stanley Cup Final is nowhere near complete and the Blues still have every chance of winning it all entering Game 4 on Monday night at the Enterprise Center. St. Louis trailed San Jose by a 2-1 series score in the Western Conference finals and steamrolled the Sharks in the next three games. The Bruins trailed by an identical 2-1 series score in the first two rounds against both Toronto and Columbus – and won both times. The hockey playoffs ebb and flow like the postseason in no other sport. Nothing is remotely close to over.
But man, if I were from St. Louis, I’d be worried.
Because the truth is that I haven’t beaten Boston in any remotely important competition in the last 50 years.
Tell you what: let’s keep it recent. Boston’s extraordinary, fantastical and downright ridiculous run of success since roughly the start of this millennium has featured 12 championships in four sports against eight North American cities or regions. Boston has defeated, in order, St, Louis (NFL), Carolina (NFL), St. Louis (MLB), Philadelphia (NFL), Colorado (MLB), Los Angeles (NBA), Vancouver (NHL), St. Louis (MLB), Seattle (NFL), Atlanta (NFL), Los Angeles (MLB) and Los Angeles (NFL).
St. Louis has been on that list three times, tied with Los Angeles for most. But here’s the caveat: the Patriots’ most recent Super Bowl victory was against the Rams, who moved to Los Angeles from St. Louis two years ago. If I were Boston – again, in the role playing scenario – I’d give St. Louis half a loss for that one.
If you’d been able to actually keep a football team, you would have lost.
Seriously, what is a St. Louisan to say?
Boston: Hey, nice to see you again in the finals! We’re looking forward to stepping on your face again and crushing your dreams.
St. Louis: We’ll see about that.
Boston: Really? Try taking us to a Game 7 first.
St. Louis: Yeah but …
Boston: But what? Your Rams lost to us in perhaps the greatest Super Bowl upset of all-time in Super Bowl XXXVI, the New England victory that launched this dynasty. Your Cardinals won 105 games in 2004 and got trucked by us in the World Series. (It was a sweep.) We beat you again in 2013 – in six games this time, good showing by you! - with a Red Sox team that really had no right to win a championship. And then the Rams left you for LA, and we still beat them. Now that we think of it … you’re welcome.
St. Louis: That’s cold.
Boston: You’re right. We take it back. We feel bad for you.
Now, truth be told, St. Louis is not loserville. In this millennium – a period during which, again, Boston has won an absurd 12 championships – St. Louis has won three, two in baseball, one in football (before the Rams bolted). The city just hasn’t beaten Boston. The two titles are no small feat given the departure of the football team, which has left St. Louis with only franchises in the four major sports. It’s a good sports town. Always has been.
It’s just not a great one.
These Blues? They have championship mettle. They have proven it this postseason. This year’s St. Louis hockey outfit has done its best work when facing adversity – and the Blues are facing some now. Bostonians are smart enough to know that nothing has been settled. A St. Louis victory Monday night in Game 4 would effectively make these finals a best-of-3 affair, moving the Blues closer to the Cup than they have been since 1970.
That year, of course, they lost to … Boston.
But then, at this point, there’s a little shame in that.